An evening bike ride took me past Albany City Hall on Thursday, June 1, and I saw the results of action the city council took on May 24 in the matter of flags on display.
In the words of the May 24 council summary put together by the city clerk: “Action: Motion to direct staff to create a flag policy passed 6-0. Motion to fly the Pride flag in the city hall window for the month of June 2023 passed 5-0 with Councilor Novak leaving the meeting to avoid registering a vote.”
At the May 24 meeting, the council had been shown a staff-prepared rendering of the Pride flag high up in the window of the two-story City Hall atrium. This was offered as an alternative to hoisting it below the U.S. and Oregon flags on the pole in front, which four council members had said on May 10 they wanted done.
The council accepted the alternative. As it turned out, though, the Pride flag was hung lower in the window, slightly below the POW-MIA flag to its right. This way, the flags on the pole outside would be still be higher than the window flags in case there is an occasion during June when the federal and state flags are ordered lowered to half-staff.
The flag meant to honor service members lost as prisoners of war or missing in action is supposed to be flown under the American and Oregon flags on the pole, but the pole is not tall enough for three flags without the lowest one getting snagged on a corner of the building.
On Wednesday evening, on the pavement of the plaza outside, people had used colored chalk to create a rainbow flag in preparation for a Pride event on June 24. With no rain in the long-range forecast, it may still be there for the event.
Meanwhile, as Councilwoman Marilyn Smith has pointed out, the city staff is developing a policy on flying — or presumably displaying in the window — non-governmental flags at City Hall.
A flag policy should be helpful as the city now likely will face requests to fly or display other flags.
For example, the Los Angeles Times reported today that while the LA County Board of Supervisors hoisted a Pride Flag for the first time at a county building, the city council in Redlands, Calif., had just voted 3-2 against doing the same based on its policy regarding flags. (hh)